Been to the movies lately? If so, you’ll be only too aware of the huge expense a trip to the cinema has become. With the proliferation of Netflix, Apple TV, online streaming and the countless other ways you can entertain yourself at home, there’s really no need to leave the house. Instead, we’ve compiled the top 9 must-have audio and visual items to create the ultimate home theatre in your pad.
#1 Wireless Headphones
Tune out the missus, the kids, or the construction work going on next door with a pair of wireless headphones. Whether you’re watching something you’d rather others didn’t hear, or fancy a midnight movie marathon, there are headphones to suit every budget, so shop around for a pair with the highest quality you can afford.
#2 Speaker Set-up
Ideally, you will have a 5.1 speaker system, which includes five speakers and a subwoofer. For larger rooms, a 7.2 system (seven speakers and two subwoofers) will turn an ordinary lounge-room into an immersive cinema experience.
Wireless speakers may seem tempting, what with their space saving and trip-hazard reducing qualities, but cabled speakers offer superior quality and uninterrupted sound quality.
#3 The Perfect Sized Screen
Bigger might seem better, but when it comes to screen size you really need to consider the size and dimensions of the space you’re filling. As a general rule of thumb, the further you plan on sitting from the TV the bigger the screen can be.
Experts suggest measuring the distance between the couch and the wall where the TV will be placed (in inches) and dividing this number by 1½. For example, if your couch is 10 feet (120-inches) from the TVs proposed location, your screen should be no larger than 80-inches. Opt for an LED television rather than LCD or plasma varieties, as they will generally last longer and emit a higher quality picture than the competition.
#4 Flat Panel TV Mount
Nothing ruins a sleek home theatre quicker than bulky TV cabinets. A better option is to purchase a TV mount for your flat screen. As well as saving on floor space, a mounted TV will feel more cinematic and look a whole lot cooler. Before splashing out any cash, check the mount will be able to comfortably hold the weight of your TV.
If TV screens aren’t right for you, invest in a high-quality projector that can be mounted from the ceiling. As well as being great space savers, projectors create a more authentic cinematic viewing experience for you and your friends.
Please note that if your home theatre receives a lot of natural light, a projector picture will be less crisp and harder to see, making traditional TV screens a more suitable choice.
#6 Powerful A/V Receiver
Don’t underestimate the importance of a good A/V receiver. Responsible for video and audio inputs and connecting the TV to the speakers, choose a receiver with as many HDMI ports as your budget allows. Used to plug in things like gaming consoles and DVD players, it never hurts to have more HDMI ports than you plan on using. Also consider the wattage per channel (WPC), and never buy an A/V receiver offering less than 50 watts.
#7 Gaming Console
For a completely immersive gaming experience, a gaming console is essential to any man’s home theatre set-up. Play games, watch DVDs or Blu-Rays and enjoy convenient online streaming all through the one device, like the PlayStation 4. The home theatre is also an excellent place to whip out those gaming consoles from your youth – Atari anyone?
#8 Google Chromecast
First released in 2013, Google Chromecast (Chromecast 2 is now available) is one of the smallest but most handy (and cheapest) devices you could purchase for your home theatre. The pocket-sized piece of equipment allows you to stream movies, TV shows and YouTube clips straight from your smartphone or laptop to the TV. With Netflix and other streaming capabilities, Chromecast features voice activation, a HDMI cord and built-in antennas.
#9 HDMI Cable
Easy to overlook but essential for a functioning home theatre, HDMI cables are as essential to a home theatre as a sausage sizzle on election day. HDMI cables are used to transmit data digitally, so be sure to stock up and buy a few of differing lengths so you always have one available.